AAP files fresh plea in Delhi high court against disqualification of 20 MLAs
The move comes after the AAP MLAs withdrew on Monday an earlier plea in the HC, which sought a stay on the Election Commission’s (EC) recommendation to President Ram Nath Kovind to disqualify 20 MLAs for holding the office-of-profit as Parliamentary Secretaries in Delhi.delhi Updated: Jan 24, 2018 10:30 IST
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) filed a fresh plea in the Delhi high court on Tuesday to challenge the decision to disqualify 20 party MLAs in an office-of-profit case.
The move comes after the AAP MLAs withdrew on Monday an earlier plea in the HC, which sought a stay on the Election Commission’s (EC) recommendation to President Ram Nath Kovind to disqualify 20 MLAs for holding the office-of-profit as Parliamentary Secretaries in Delhi.
On Friday, the EC made the recommendation, since approved by the President, for the disqualification.
On Sunday, the Law and Justice Ministry issued a notification that the President has held that the 20 MLAs stand disqualified under Section 15 (1) (a) of the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD) Act.
On Monday, AAP Chief Spokesperson Saurabh Bharadwaj told IANS that the ruling party will file the fresh plea on Tuesday.
Earlier in the day, Justice Rekha Palli of the High Court said the plea moved by six AAP legislators had become infructuous as the President has already issued a circular to disqualify all 20 MLAs.
The MLAs’ counsel said they wanted to withdraw the plea and will examine the EC orders.
The court then ruled the “plea is dismissed as withdrawn”.
The 20 MLAs disqualified are Alka Lamba, Adarsh Shastri, Sanjeev Jha, Rajesh Gupta, Kailash Gahlot, Vijendra Garg, Praveen Kumar, Sharad Kumar, Madan Lal Khufiya, Shiv Charan Goyal, Sarita Singh, Naresh Yadav, Rajesh Rishi, Anil Kumar, Som Dutt, Avtar Singh, Sukhvir Singh Dala, Manoj Kumar, Nitin Tyagi and Jarnail Singh.
Earlier in the day, senior AAP leader Ashutosh attacked the President over his decision. “(President) K.R. Narayanan acted as the guardian of the Constitution, and returned the recommendations of the Cabinet not once, but twice. He (Narayanan) was not a rubber stamp President, was a working President, a great President,” Ashutosh tweeted.
Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, in an open letter, sought public support against the disqualification decision.
Sisodia blamed the Bharatiya Janata Party-led central government for hampering the work of the AAP government in the city and said the Centre was scared of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s “rising popularity across the country”.
He said that the charges of holding office-of-profit against these MLAs were “false” as they “were not given any government vehicles, bungalows or salary”.
The BJP attacked the AAP over Sisodia’s letter and dared it to contest all 70 Assembly seats in Delhi.
“People’s answer: Don’t write letters and instead of contesting the 20 seats, contest all 70 seats,” BJP Delhi chief Manoj Tiwari said in a tweet.
Union Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Vijay Goel tweeted that lawyer P Patel, whose petition led to the disqualification of the 20 AAP MLAs, met him on Monday and expressed concern over his safety and security. Goel said he will speak to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh over Patel’s security.
Supporting the AAP, the Shiv Sena raised questions over the “haste” with which the 20 legislators were disqualified.
“Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is facing a crisis, and that is because of the public campaign against corruption and injustice,” the Shiv Sena said.